Charity for nuclear warships

Publish date: June 11, 1999

Written by: Igor Kudrik

Two nuclear-powered warships to be scrapped unless the State Duma establishes a charity fund.

Unofficial reports suggest that two Pacific Fleet nuclear-powered surface vessels will be decommissioned shortly. The Admiral Lazarev, a Kirov-class nuclear-powered cruiser, and the Ural, a Kapusta class nuclear-powered communication ship, were put into operation in 1984 and 1989 respectively.

In early January 1999, the State Duma, lower chamber of the Russian Parliament, put forward a resolution, which demanded to reverse the decision by the Navy HQ to take out of service another Kirov-class nuclear-powered cruiser, the Admiral Ushakov. Intentions to scrap the Admiral Ushakov, which has its home base in the Northern Fleet, were prompted by the lack of funds needed to effect repairs. On June 8, the State Duma set up a charity fund to collect donations for Ushakov’s come back.

The irony is that the Admiral Lazarev scheduled for decommissioning is four years younger than its sister-ship, the Ushakov. So, apparently, the Russian parliament has to put up an extra charity fund to assist the Admiral Lazarev as well.

There are two more Kirov-class nuclear cruisers in the Northern Fleet, the Admiral Nakhimov and the Peter the Great. The need for repair donations for these two ships has not been announced by the State Duma yet.

Ural’s future unclear
Earlier reports suggested that the communication nuclear vessel the Ural was to be converted into a floating nuclear power plant to supply Zvezda shipyard in the Russian Far East with electricity. The Ural was put into active service in December 1988, but went into reserve one year later, due to various technical malfunctions. It was said that it was cheaper to convert the warship into a peaceful tool, than to scrap it. Now it seems that the project lacks substance and the vessel will be decommissioned, unless the State Duma extends its auspices to the Far East and establishes a new charity fund.